This week I have been on holidays. I needed a break nearly after a year from last one. I decided going to Scotland as I didnt have to fly, deal with COVID restrictions and because it was so close that I am ashamed of not visiting after so many years being around. And a good friend joined me.
My main goal was being outside, seeing the highlands, trekking a bit. And visit Edinburgh as many people has recommend it.
Firstly visited Isle of Skye. I drove from Edinburgh and it was a bit of a challenge as I am not used to drive with the wheel on the right and it was long drive too. But the views were amazing, so many mountains (some with snow) and so many lakes.
I visited the Talisker distillery as my friend was keen of whiskey. It was interesting to learn that most whiskey distilleries in Scotland are managed by Diageo group. The tour wasnt very good as it was too quick and didnt have time to see the whole process but I realised that this is not an artesanal product anymore. It is like a car factory chain process. A part of the process is done in the distillery and the others in some parts of Scotland. Still I was nice to “taste” different kind of whiskeys. I learn that each year in the barrel, it loses around 2% alcohol. So the longer it stays, the lowest alcohol content it has. And with each distillation, you remove some % of alcohol, as it is toxic for human beings. I am not good at drinking alcohol but was interested in the flavours. The “smoky” flour comes from burning “peat” when drying the barley. And “peat” is only found in some parts of Scotland. As well, the smokiness relates to the colour too. The ingredients are water, barley and yeast.
The main trekking we did was the The Storr. I really enjoyed. It was the best part of the trip for me, when returning, we stopped to enjoy the silence and the rain. I wish we could have walked the whole day.
We tried to walk in other places but it seemed the car parks were closed until June. At the end we drove the whole north part of the Isle stopping in some other places.
We stayed in a typical cottage and it was really good, very cosy.
Then we went to Glencoe to hike somewhere else before sleeping in Oban. It seems Glencoe was featured in Skyfall movie although the house is not real. I lost GPS/4G when getting close to Aonach Eagach and by mistake we did a totally different route, the “hidden valley” or Coire Gabhail in the Three Sisters. And it was nice, we climbed via a river birth with some nice waterfalls until a small valley. Although the best part was eating our “bocata” in the car park facing the mountains after the trekk.
Oban is a small city but it was nice. We visited Oban distillery (part of Diageo) and it was better experience, although the tasting crashed me one hour after… Here is where it was better explained the process and the different types of whiskey. We tried whiskey from a barrel (aprox 10y), that was over 60%… We learned about the blends, single malt and why it is difficult to state the age of whiskey when you change to a different barrel to give a last kick in flavour. As well, it seems all barrels comes from USA bourbon production because they can’t reuse them. It seems it was an initial rule to keep the production of barrels.
Our last trek was around Callander, as I failed to find a route to Ben Vorlich. It was heartbreaking to see “forest works” cutting trees, many trees…. And it is something we saw in several places in our trip. I thought the typical Highland mountains without tries it was normal, but it is not. We saw many mountains with trees in several parts regardless the height and others totally empty. This was clearly the low light of the trip. In Callander, my friend tried a pie of haggies and it was very tasty!
Our last stop was Edinburgh. I returned the car in one piece!!! \o/
We didnt stay much but I learned some interesting facts. In Saint Cuthbert church, John Napier is buried there. And Agatha Christie married in the church.
David Hume lobbied the town council for building public walks in Calton Hill.
We visited St Giles church. Learned about him and his deer 🙂 As well, St Andrew who is the patron saint of Scotland, never reached it.
I would have liked to visit the Castle and Holyrood, next time.
By the way, I will not never understand why so many “branches” of religion….
In general, I am glad I visited Scotland.